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Paris Olympics 2024

Reports: Rohan Bopanna chooses N. Sriram Balaji as doubles partner for Paris Olympics 2024

Published at :June 5, 2024 at 12:05 AM
Modified at :June 5, 2024 at 12:05 AM
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(Courtesy : rohanbopanna0403/insta and sriram.balaji/Insta)

Ajay Gandhar


Rohan Bopanna recently played against N Sriram Balaji at French Open 2024.

Indian tennis legend Rohan Bopanna has set his sights on the upcoming Paris Olympics, aiming for one last shot at an Olympic medal. According to reports, in an email sent to the All-India Tennis Association (AITA), Bopanna expressed his desire to partner with N. Sriram Balaji, who he recently played against in the French Open men’s doubles third round.

Bopanna’s decision comes after witnessing Balaji’s performance at the French Open 2024, where the latter and his Mexican partner MA Reyes-Varela Martinez faced off against Bopanna and Australia’s Matthew Ebden in the third round of the men’s doubles. Despite the loss, Balaji’s display convinced Bopanna that he would be the ideal partner for the Olympics.

Commenting on his decision, Bopanna told PTI from Paris, “I have sent an email to AITA,” adding that he would provide further remarks once he receives a response from the national federation.

AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar has welcomed Bopanna’s choice, stating, “Rohan has written to us that he wants to play with Balaji, who is a good player. He played well in Pakistan also, rising to the occasion. He also did well on clay at ongoing French Open. Balaji is a big server. If Rohan wants to play with him, we have no objection to that.”

While Yuki Bhambri, India’s number two doubles player, was also considered for the partnership, the selection panel, led by former Davis Cupper Nandan Bal, has indicated their support for Bopanna’s decision.

Bal emphasized, “In my personal opinion, we should give Rohan what he wants. At the end of the day, it’s his last shot at an Olympic medal and if he feels that it is better to play with Balaji, he would be sure of the choice.”

The panel, which includes former Davis Cupper Balram Singh, Mustafa Ghouse, and Sai Jailakshmi, will convene to discuss the combination once the ITF releases the final list of qualified athletes after the French Open concludes. Bal noted, “Still we will discuss the combination whenever AITA convenes the meeting.”

The Olympic qualification process will consider the ATP/WTA rankings on June 10, with the ITF notifying all associations about their qualified athletes by June 12. National Olympic Committees have until June 19 to confirm their entries, and any unused quota places will be reallocated by the ITF on July 8.

As Bopanna, only the third Indian to win a Grand Slam title, prepares for his final Olympic appearance, he will be hoping to go one step further than his narrow miss in the mixed doubles event at the Rio Games with Sania Mirza

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